Person 2 Person: Oscar Andy Hammerstein

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Person 2 Person: Oscar Andy Hammerstein

(KUTV) Oscar Andrew Hammerstein III is the grandson of Oscar Hammerstein II, from the famous duo Rodgers and Hammerstein.

He was recently in Utah for the RootsTech 2017 Conference to talk about his family history research.

Hammerstein wrote a book called "Hammersteins: A Musical Theatre Family" after looking into his family history.

It was all sparked over curiosity about his grandfather. He had always heard that he was a famous man, but that wasn't the side of him he knew.

"As I got older I thought, 'I'd like to know who this other Oscar is. I started reading about him and before too long, I became obsessed with him. I wanted to know more about him,'" Hammerstein said.

He started collecting memorabilia, stories, and whatever he could find about the Hammerstein family.

In the process, Hammerstein has learned a lot about his grandfather, including the musicals he wrote lyrics for.

"I think he might have loved 'Carousel' the most. I think that it brought him closest to the operatic roots that he was really mining," he said. 'It's like 'Oklahoma' was almost experimental when it came out. 'Carousel' was the blossom of the flower, then they got to ride the success of being Rodgers and Hammerstein through 'King and I' and 'South Pacific' and they rode it all the way to 'Sound of Music.'

Although Hammerstein was named after his grandfather, he didn't always love having the name Oscar.

"I grew up at a time when the name Oscar would be attributed to either Oscar Mayer Wiener, Oscar the Grouch, or Oscar Madison. None of them really worked for me," he said. "As I've grown older, I've come to really, fully embrace it. There was a time I think I was running away from it, but now I found you just own it. And I've been enjoying that much more."

And it doesn't seem like the apple falls too far from the tree. Hammerstein is also artistic--he is a writer and painter.

He wasn't sure where his talent came from, but while he was doing research, he found a painting done by his great-grandfather when he was 11 years old.

That was the first time he had seen anyone in the family paint.

"I think I get something from him," he said. "I get my creativity from him. Maybe my artistic interest."

Hammerstein believes it's very important to know where you came from.

"We are the result of survivors. Every one of us here are only here because everybody before us survived to make this possible," he said. "It's something to keep in mind--that you're very lucky to be here. And I think that brings humility and interest in genealogy."

A line from a piece written by Oscar Hammerstein II makes Hammerstein think of his wife.

"When I first saw my wife, I turned to my friend and I said to him, 'That's the woman I'm going to marry.' I didn't date her for another four years or even know where she was. I ran into her on the street four years later."

So a part of "Hello, Young Lovers" from "The King and I" reminds him of this situation.

The song goes, "I know how it feels to have wings on your heels. You fly down the street on the chance that you meet and you meet not really by chance."

To learn more Oscar Andrew Hammerstein, visit his website.

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